21 Jump Street
Tagline: The only thing getting blown tonight is their cover.
When you look back on Johnny Depp’s storied career, you have to remind yourself that he once appeared as a bright young thing in the 1980s TV cop show 21 Jump Street. And pretty much 21 years on, the inevitable big-screen version is having its day, though you’ll have to check it out for yourself to see if Depp is good enough to acknowledge his past and show up.
The stars are those current bright young things, Channing Tatum, last seen getting his butt kicked in Haywire and acting all lovey-dovey in The Vow, and Jonah Hill, last seen picking up a well-deserved Best Supporting Actor nomination for Moneyball. They’re sent undercover to try and bust a high-school drug ring, which means that they have to pretend to be teenagers and relive their school years, when they didn’t exactly see eye to eye.
Hill certainly has plenty invested in the movie, considering that he co-wrote it with Michael Bacall (who wrote the woefully under-appreciated Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) and early word is that they’ve done themselves proud. And coming in for equally high praise is the (some might say) inspired directing decision to give 21 Jump Street to Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who did such a great job on the animated Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs (seriously, go see it). Put it like this: John Carter director, Andrew Stanton, must be looking on with considerable envy.
Perhaps the expectation level was on the low side but the reviews have gone through the roof (86% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing). “The funniest high-school comedy to come out of Hollywood in ages,” trumpets Empire. “The helmers make slick use of their new live-action collaborators. Considering that hardly anyone was asking for a 21 Jump Street reboot, they’ve put their own playful stamp on it,” is Variety‘s verdict. “Sails on the strength of some of its joke writing, and the chemistry and use of its stars,” says Screen Daily. By the sounds of it, even if Depp wanted to be fully involved in any follow-up, he’d have a hard job getting the gig.